New features: the new Groups tab, full-text RSS feeds, and public pages (!)

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Tonight we pushed out the biggest change to Wesabe since we launched — and this is just the first one we have planned this month.

First, we’ve heard from many Wesabeans that you were confused to find a bunch of discussions going on in a tab called “Goals,” and also that it seemed like you had to be an expert to participate in a discussion about a goal (like “get a better mortgage”). We also felt that with some of the changes coming up for the Goals tab, it was going to get way too crowded and overloaded. So, we’ve taken a few big steps. We’ve created a new “Groups” tab which is just for discussion groups — about money, things you spend money on, your financial goals, Wesabe itself, or just about anything else. The Groups tab has a new, cleaner and simpler UI for discussions, and we’ve made it clear that anyone and everyone should feel welcome to ask questions, contribute ideas, or just hang out and chat — expertise isn’t a requirement!

Groups

We’ve also taken the discussions out of Goals, and moved all of the discussions that have already started over to the new Groups area. Anyone can create a new group, and the person who creates the group automatically becomes moderator of it (and can promote other members to be moderators, too). Moderators currently can edit the group name and purpose, and later on will have other super powers, too.

The Goals tab is currently just for listing your goals and associating spending targets with your goals (to help you save money for them). In the near future, we’ll be adding a set of new tools to help you plan out how you’re going to get to your goals, track your progress towards each goal, and allocate money from your spending towards a particular goal.

While working on the new Groups tab, Coda added in a frequent feature request: full-text RSS feeds for every group. We had a lot of debate before launch about what the right approach for this should be, but in this revision, Coda argued, “I personally hate summary RSS feeds, and I don’t feel like implementing something I hate.” So now we have full-text RSS feeds! If you use an RSS reader like Bloglines or Google Reader, you can subscribe to RSS feeds for all of your groups at once (on the main Groups tab), any individual group, or any individual discussion.

Finally, the new Groups tab is the first Wesabe tab you can use without registering for the site at all — it’s completely open to the public (you still have to register to post in the discussions, but anyone can read any discussion, or subscribe to any Groups RSS feed, without registering). We wanted to make it easy for people to find and explore Wesabe without having to sign up, and then let people sign up once they’ve gotten interested. The Groups tab is the first of many parts of the site we’ll be making public over the next few weeks. The more information we can make public, the better — we want everyone to be able to learn from the fantastic information our members are sharing. (Of course, we’ll never make your personal financial data public, and we’ll always give you the option of participating anonymously or not at all in the public parts of the site.)

Thanks to Coda for all the hard work in launching these new features and porting over the discussions from Goals. I’m really excited about this change, and about the other new features we have coming up shortly. Stay tuned, and keep all the fabulous feedback coming!


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